Shanghai Offers Fee Cuts to Defuse Drivers’ Strike at Port

Earlier CDT reported on the three-day strike in Shanghai by truck drivers angry over rising fuel prices and new fees. Thousands of drivers reportedly blocked cargo ports in Shanghai in protest. In an effort to defuse the situation, the Shanghai government announced it would lower some fees to accommodate driver demands. From Reuters:

The government of the Chinese city of Shanghai is cutting some fees to defuse striking truck drivers’ anger over high fuel prices, an official spokesman said after days of sometimes violent confrontation disrupted the world’s busiest port.

The promised steps include “lowering standard fees and removing non-standard fees”, an unidentified spokesman for the Shanghai city government said, according to a brief report from China’s official Xinhua news agency issued early on Saturday.

It did not give other details of the steps.

Many of the strikers are independent contractors who haul goods to and from the port, and they have demanded that the government do something about rising fuel costs and what some called high fees charged by transport firms.

These latest protests only serve to symbolize just how much ordinary people are being affected by China’s climbing inflation. From NPR:

The protest comes as China’s communist leaders try to defuse mounting public frustration over inflation that spiked to a 32-month high of 5.4 percent in March, driven by an 11.7 percent jump in food costs. Inflation is politically dangerous for the ruling party because it erodes economic gains that help to support the communists’ grip on power.

Chinese leaders have said that taming prices is a priority this year. Cities have raised minimum wages by 10 to 20 percent, but that has failed to keep pace with climbing living costs in many areas.

April 22, 2011 9:46 PM
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